13 Chilling Facts About The Craigslist Ripper (Who Is Still On The Loose)

He's vicious. He's methodical. And he's still at large. The Gilgo Beach Killer - also known as the Long Island Serial Killer and the Craigslist Ripper - has been operating since around 1996, and hasn't yet been caught. The unknown murderer has claimed at least 10 victims, all of them connected with the sex industry.

It's chilling to think of the evil deeds that have been committed in this isolated hamlet on Long Island, not far from the busy streets of New York City. But the formerly sleepy beach town hides plenty of secrets under its serene exterior, where bodies just keep turning up. With the FBI officially joining the police investigation, residents can only hope that the culprit will be found soon.

Photo: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License

  • He Found Some Of His Victims On Craigslist

    He Found Some Of His Victims On Craigslist
    Photo: isriya / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    There are connections between five of the women believed to number among the victims of the Gilgo Beach Killer: Amber Lynn Costello, Megan Waterman, Melissa Barthelemy, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, and Shannan Gilbert. They were all sex workers who placed ads for their services on websites like Craigslist. Each woman told others that they were on their way to meet with a "client" on the nights that they went missing.

  • Not All Of His Victims Have Been Identified

    Not All Of His Victims Have Been Identified
    Photo: Adam J Skowronski / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0

    Four bodies were discovered on Gilgo Beach in December of 2010. They belonged to Maureen Brainard-Barnes, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Amber Lynn Costello. A few months later, authorities found six more bodies while further combing the beach. Only one of those has been identified: Jessica Taylor, who went missing in 2003. The others are listed as John and Jane Does.

    The body of Shannan Gilbert was found in December 2011, behind the houses that lined the beach. Her disappearance had sparked the searches of the beach in the first place.

  • He Placed Bodies Deliberately

    He Placed Bodies Deliberately
    Photo: ViralNova / via Pinterest

    The bodies of four of the victims of the Gilgo Beach Killer were discovered nude, carefully wrapped in burlap bags, and placed on the beach in a way that made it seem as if they were thrown from the road. The remains of Amber Lynn Costello, Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman, and Maureen Brainard-Barnes were all found parallel to each other in the thick brush that lines the side of the beach near the road. All had been strangled, and were missing their shoes.

    The body of a young Asian male was found on the beach as well. He had been bludgeoned to death sometime between 2001 and 2006. His body was clothed in women's garb, and he may have been working as a prostitute.

  • One Body Was Found In A Marsh

    One Body Was Found In A Marsh
    Photo: Wild Eepe / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Shannan Gilbert is widely considered to be another of the Gilgo Beach Killer's victims, though she isn't officially recognized as such. She vanished on May 1, 2010, after spending some time with a client who hired her through Craigslist: Joseph Brewer, a resident who lived right across from Gilgo Beach. Gilbert called 911 that night, saying that someone was trying to kill her. Two of Brewer's neighbors saw her as she ran through the neighborhood.

    Over a year and a half later, Gilbert's body was found in a marsh located behind some Gilgo Beach houses. Her official cause of death is listed as inconclusive and accidental. However her skeleton shows signs of strangulation.

  • Bodies Were Found On Nearby Beaches As Well

    Bodies Were Found On Nearby Beaches As Well
    Photo: cliff1066™ / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    After the first four bodies were found in 2010, authorities expanded their search zone. They found bodies on Jones Beach, as well as on other beaches and waterfront areas in nearby Nassau County. The remains included those of Jessica Taylor, who vanished in 2003; part of her body was found in Manorville, and the rest was discovered on Gilgo Beach in 2010. The remains of the unidentified woman known as Jane Doe No. 6 were also found in Manorville, while the body of Jane Doe No. 7 was divided between Tobay Beach and Fire Island.

    Police are also considering a number of similar murders featuring women who worked as prostitutes, whose bodies either turned up on Gilgo Beach or in similar areas. 

  • He Might Be Connected To Bodies Found In New Jersey

    He Might Be Connected To Bodies Found In New Jersey
    Photo: DeeAshley / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0

    Before the first four Gilgo Beach Killer victims were found in December 2010, the bodies of four women turned up in New Jersey. They were identified as Kim Raffo, Molly Jean Dilts, Barbara Breidor, and Tracy Ann Roberts.

    The remains show eerie connections to the Gilgo Beach Killer case: all four women had worked as prostitutes and had been strangled to death. What's more, their bodies were deposited near water, and their shoes were missing. Authorities believe the killings may be related.